Everyone who sees Andrew agrees that he is doing really well. He is sleeping well, eating well, and learning how to be a part of our family. We are all beginning to settle into a routine. We are trying to spend a lot of time at home, but Andrew is such a social person he gets bored; so, we take some time to go to church or grandma’s, or have people over to visit. He was doing so well when we got home that we spent 3.5 days the first week going to Vacation Bible School. We wanted Hannah to go, but he got jealous if he didn’t go too. He did well for the most part, and they both enjoyed it. On the last day, he learned the signs for "God is So Good" from pastor Steve in about five minutes during music time and came and signed them to me. Of course I was in tears thinking, "Yes, Andrew, God is good and we thank Him for His goodness in giving you to our family." On Sunday night after VBS, he got up on the stage with all of the other children. He couldn't sing the words, but he watched them and did the signs for all of the songs including, "God is so Good."
Andrew is fluent in Chinese and continues to speak it most of the time though he prefers being called Andrew over An Fu Quan. Everyone agrees that one reason he is doing so well is because I can speak Chinese with him. It has cut down on a lot of frustration to be able to tell him what's going on and for him to have somebody he can talk to. I have started trying to say everything in English as well as Chinese so that he can start learning it and so that David and Hannah know what I am saying to him. Some times I get confused and speak Chinese to them or even to the dog. They (David and Hannah, not the dog) have actually learned quite a few Chinese phrases through the process. Andrew is beginning to understand quite a bit of English and is saying a few English words and phrases, but definitely still prefers Chinese. He's learning some sign language too though he is not as interested in it as Hannah was. His favorite English word was for the first week "apple," but his new favorite is "no." (For those of you who speak Chinese, he says it with a third tone inflection.) He says it all of the time even when he really means "yes." (Of course there is room for lots of miscommunication in all of this especially for Hannah. She often gets upset because she thinks he is saying things against her. Most of the time she is wrong, but it still causes a lot of conflict.)
His favorite word in any language, however, is "Mama," and he uses it a lot and often very loudly. I think he expects me to magically appear as soon as he utters the word because if I don't answer immediately when he calls, he yells it over and over, louder and louder. Hannah has taken a cue from him, and is doing the same thing. Some times I'm tempted to want to change my name, but I did ask for this and went to a lot of trouble to earn the title, and, well, when all is said and done, I like being called "mama" even if it is used a little too often and a little too loudly. He calls David "Baba" and is beginning to prefer him some of the time. He likes Papa to help him brush his teeth, he loves playing ball or swimming with him, and it is sweet to see him crawl up in David's lap and snuggle. He calls his sister, "Hannah," and she calls him "Brother" most of the time.
Here are some important Chinese phrases in our house these days:
- Bu nung peng - Don't push buttons (He likes to push ALL KINDS of buttons. I just wish he didn't enjoy pushing Hannah's buttons so much!)
- Deng deng: wait (He HATES this one.)
- fen kai - share (Neither he nor Hannah likes this one.)
- chi fan - eat (He likes this one a lot, but he is beginning to say it in English now.)
- Xiu xi - nap (He doesn't really like that one either.)
- Cha bu duo dao le - almost there (He always says this as we get close to church or our house.)
- Dao le! - We're here! (He always says this when we arrive at church or our house.)
- Fei Ji - airplane (He jumps up and down, points to the sky and yells "fei ji!" every time he sees an airplane - until today. He used the word "airplane." I am glad he is learning English, but it made me very sad to think that he will stop saying "fei ji."
- You Yong (swim), pao bu (run), and da qiu (play ball) - (some of his favorite activities)
- Women ai ni! (We love you!)
- His favorite songs (in English) are "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "God is so Good," and "The Butterfly Song." He is beginning to sing along with Praise and Worship songs in the car, and although he still sings in Chinese some times, it isn't as often.
- His favorite book is "He Lives," a very short book about the Easter story. (I read it to him in English and translate it to Chinese.)
- His favorite indoor activity is playing games on David's tablet or watching DVD's, but we have let the kids do very little of that since getting home. He also likes to paint, use scissors, play with play dough, play with blocks, build puzzles and color
- His favorite outdoor activity is riding tricycles, though "you yong" (swimming) may become his new favorite. He also likes to "pao bu" (run), "da qiu" (play ball), blow bubbles, swing and climb on play ground equipment. We don't have a swing set, but we have several parks nearby; so, we go visit them often. We took their trikes to Patriot Park one evening, and they rode about a mile and a half.
- His favorite show to watch is "Maisy" (the mouse). He also will watch "Curious George," "Ni Hao Kai Lan," "Hermie and Friends," and some "Veggie Tales."
- He loves music about as much as Hannah does and almost always wants it to be turned on in the car. He is beginning to sing along with some of the songs.
- His favorite food is noodles. He eats pretty well and is more of a vegetarian than Hannah is. He will eat more meat than he did in the beginning. He really chowed down on ham and ate baked chicken with honey barbecue sauce. He has eaten canned turnip greens, green beans, peaches, strawberries, chicken and rice, spaghetti, and tacos. He didn't really like the tacos, but ate the meat a little better when mixed with rice. One day last spring I asked Hannah what she thought Andrew would like to eat. Without having to think about it, she said, "Candy!" Yes, Hannah, he does really like to eat candy, especially chocolate.
- He can be really playful, he loves to laugh and has ticklish feet.
- He likes baths and stays in the tub until the last drop of water has drained away.
- He likes to look at the pictures his foster family gave him. He points out and names each person, and kisses the picture of his foster sister.
- Sometimes if we don't understand what he tells us, he'll pull one of us down and whisper it in our ear (as if that will help).
- He likes to talk on the phone. It doesn't matter who we are talking to, he wants to talk to them too.
- He likes to hold onto my hand or hug my arm while he is falling asleep as it he's thinking that if he can just hold on while he's sleeping, he can make sure I'll still be there when he wakes up in the morning.
Below are some pictures of our first few days home and a few pictures of Hannah helping me prepare for Andrew's homecoming. We painted his room blue, but have done very little decorating. We thought he would be old enough to choose for himself, and we think that was a good decision. He has definite opinions on what he likes and doesn't like. He is sleeping in a toddler bed in our room for now. We'll move him to his room some time this summer probably after his cleft palate surgery. When will that be? We don't know. We have four more doctors appointments already made for the next few weeks; so, we'll just have to wait and see.
As soon as we got out of the car from the air port, Andrew found the trikes and had to try them outeven before going into the house. We have another tricycle for him that he and David recently put together.
Hannah painting Andrew's name.
After we finished preparing the bed, Hannah sat on it while we prayed for him. We also had another one of those conversations where I explained to her again that we had to take turns having the sun. Andrew got the sun while we were sleeping and we got the sun while he was sleeping.
Andrew enjoying his first night in his new bed.
Loving on Ernie. A few days later I asked him if he liked his bed. He shook his head no; so, I asked him why. He pointed to our bed to let me know he wanted to sleep with us. We don't want to start that. Letting him sleep in his bed in our room is a good compromise until we think he is ready to move to his room probably after his surgery.
Playing with play dough with Papa.
Playing ball with Papa.
Riding tricycles in Patriot Park.
Popsicles with Grandma.
First day of Vacation Bible School.
Goggles the kids made in VBS.